How Tourists Get Cheated in Different Countries

When going on vacation, people anticipate seeing new things and oftentimes, pay more attention to choosing the right sunscreen rather than the safety of their belongings. This is a well-known fact to scammers who use this for their own profit. They have a bunch of tricks up their sleeves that help make tourists’ wallets thinner. This article will explain why you should never answer a passerby who asks, “Where you are heading?” in Egypt; why you’d better ask a photographer in Russia how many clothing elements a photo session costume contains; and how to not end up paying more than you expected in Italian restaurants.

Bright Side is revealing actual cheating tricks in hopes that you will never get caught on the hook of dishonest people.

Life-size puppets

Where you can see it: Russia, Ukraine

Life-size puppets “hunt” in the most popular tourist spots wearing costumes of famous cartoon characters. As a rule, these “animals” come up to people with kids and ask the parents to get their smartphone out and take a couple of pictures. Then afterward, they start to ask for money for each photo that was taken. These scammers usually behave boldly and aggressively, counting on the fact that a person will become confused and agree to their conditions. If the price hadn’t been announced before you were asked to take a picture, just walk away and don’t succumb to provocations.

Receipts in shops

Where you can see it: the Czech Republic

When buying products in a supermarket, make sure to check the amount and the quantity of the products in your cart and on your receipt. When cashiers realize they’re dealing with a tourist, they’ll often add and an extra product or a product of a higher price to your receipt hoping for your inattentiveness and confusion since you don’t know the local language.

A bill in a restaurant

Where you can see it: Italy, Greece, and the Czech Republic

Italians also take advantage of the fact that tourists don’t know the local language. They can easily include services like AC, cutlery, napkins, tablecloths, and other basic items on your bill. If you have a suspicion about the amount of money shown on the bill, ask them to bring you the menu and compare the prices.

Sellers at markets also like to set “special prices” for tourists which is why it’s much cheaper to buy products in stores located far from popular tourist spots.

There’s also a special service in Prague where tourists sit at the table and see a basket with freshly baked bread or crispy pretzels sitting in it. They treat themselves to these yummy goodies thinking it’s complimentary. However, waiters will count the eaten bread and include it onto the bill without hesitation. Oftentimes, the price of such “decor” is significant which is why it’s better to find out whether the food on the table is free before starting to eat it in order to avoid an unpleasant situation. Also, cafes in Prague can include cutlery into the bill as well, however, there is usually an indication on the menu informing you about it.


Where you can see it: Italy

Don’t get carried away by the charm of attractive Italian guys with roses in their hands on the streets of Rome. Usually, these men come up to girls they like and give them a flower and a hug. While the victim is feeling confused and embarrassed, the new “fan” unnoticeably checks the contents of the tourist’s pockets and takes off her jewelry.

You can also see Gypsy women with roses but their way of doing things is a bit different. A woman gives a passerby a flower or puts it in a tourist’s bag and starts to demand money. If the victim refuses to buy the flower, the Gypsy woman starts to put the person in a bad light saying they’re greedy or poor. In this case, it’s better to pretend you can’t understand what language they’re speaking (usually it’s English), give back the rose, and go away.

Friendship bracelets

Where you can see it: Greece, Spain, France, and Italy

This trick works well with impressed people whom scammers can easily identify by their eyes that are full of amazement and a slightly dropped jaw. The scammers approach these people and put a friendship bracelet on the victim’s hand without permission. After that, they start to ask for payment. In this situation, it’s better to pretend that you don’t understand what they want from you and walk away.

Sometimes, it can be kids who put the bracelet on your hand. And usually, they’ll ask for a very small payment for the jewelry. However, don’t relax too much because the whole time they’ll be looking for where you keep your wallet.

Dancing cartoons

Where you can see it: Italy, Poland, Romania, and Spain

While walking along the streets of these countries, you may see a person with a music box and paper cartoon characters dancing with music beside it. These characters are usually sold for 2 euros and the seller claims that these magnetic figures are driven by waves from the speaker. However, all you will buy is a regular piece of paper for that money. Each of these figurines has a hook that has a fishing line connected to it. That’s how the scammer manages to control the figurines.

National clothes

Where you can see it: Russia

A photographer may invite you to try on the national costume and will offer to take several photos of you in it. The price is usually quite low, something around 2 euros. However, photographers tend to hide the main condition: this price is only for one piece of clothing, not the whole costume.

Local currency

Where you can see it: Egypt, Czech Republic, Italy

It’s necessary to find out how local money looks before visiting a certain country. It’s important to know what bills they have, what bills are being used, and what bills are not used anymore in the territory of the country you’re visiting. For example, you can get change with lire instead of euro cents in Italy. The first lire were in circulation before the introduction of the euro in 2002. While in the Czech Republic, you can be given Bulgarian levs instead of Czech krones.

Additionally, local people tend not to clarify what currency the price tag depicts. That’s why very credulous tourists may buy things that cost 10 units of local money for $10. Make it a rule to always check with the seller about which currency the price indicates.

A request to give your signature

Where you can see it: Italy, Spain, and the Czech Republic

If you see a table that has pens and paper on it, don’t stop to find out what campaign is being advertised. Fraudsters invite tourists under various pretexts and ask them to sign a piece of paper. After the victim leaves the signature, they will ask you to make a compulsory donation or demand to pay money for letting you use the pen and paper. They’ll explain it by the fact that this condition is written below your signature in small print and in the local language.

Looking for your baggage

Where you can see it: Bali

If you didn’t find your baggage on the carousel at the airport, be sure that very soon several people wearing a uniform will come up to you and offer their help. Your belongings will be found but these guys will ask for payment for their services. Usually, they’ll ask for about $10 (for each participant of the operation).


Where you can see it: Italy, Spain, Egypt, and Bali

If a person wants to give you even the smallest help, don’t feel shy to ask how much they will charge you for it. For example, when at the airport, you may see someone take your baggage and carry it to the taxi station. You will definitely be charged for this service. They can also offer to take your picture on your phone or camera but again, they will demand remuneration. Also, remember that you shouldn’t entrust your belongings to anyone especially if you feel that this person is stronger or faster than you. You’re better off standing empty-handed.

There’s a common practice in Egypt where a tourist is asked to pay for a service that they didn’t initially ask for. For example, a passerby may come up to you on the street and inquire about where you’re going. If you name the destination, this stranger will go together with you and eventually ask you to pay for their “guide services”. That’s why you shouldn’t ask anyone about a place you want to visit in Egypt. There are many people eager to help but will you be as eager to pay them all?

Purchasing of an apartment

Where you can see it: Egypt

A friendly stranger asks a tourist whether they liked the vacation in their country and whether they would like to visit the country again. If you give a positive response, a fraudster might start describing all the possible advantages of buying a flat in the resort area. Soon, it “accidentally” turns out that your new friend knows a real estate agent who has a profitable offer for you. The price of the flat is only $5,000 — $7,000 but in order to prevent someone else from buying it, you need to leave a small deposit of $200. As you might have guessed already, you’ll never see your property again after he gets the money.

Have you ever been tricked by scammers? We’d be thankful if you shared your experience in the comments to help many people just like you stay out of trouble.

Preview photo credit paulprescott / depositphotos
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